You may have read about this on the Google Analytics Blog or on other blogs that are talking about the new Google Analytics v5, but with this article I want to share with you 14 awesome features that I love in the new version of Google Analytics. Features that I am sure you will love too once you see how powerful they are.
But before we get started, I just want to make sure that you are using the latest version of Google Analytics. If you are not, just login into your Google Analytics account and click on the [New Version] link from the top right corner of your account.
Now, take some time to check your Home screen and find your way around. As you can see the Home screen displays now only links to your profile(s) and not the dashboard anymore.
Once you are all set, make yourself comfortable and check the new features of Google Analytics v5 that you will love by the end of this article.
If you are a video fan make sure you also check this video overview created by the Google Analytics team which presents some of the features included below.
Another thing that we should discuss before diving into those specific features is the menu, which has also been changed in the new Google Analytics version. Right now, the menu contains 5 items:
- Home – displays a list with your available profiles
- Dashboards – from here you can visualize your Custom Dashboards, a feature which I will cover below
- My Site – contains all your Reports and Intelligence Events
- My Conversions – contains your Goals, Ecommerce and Multi-channel Funnels
- Custom Reports – allows you to create and visualize Custom Reports
Now, let’s dive into the new Google Analytics v5 features.
1. Multi-channel funnels
On top of my list is the Multi-channel funnels, which provides powerful insights about the path that a visitor took before converting, over a period of 30 days.
Before this, when someone converted as a customer or subscribed to a newsletter, the last link that the visitor clicked was credited for the conversion. But now, the new Google Analytics lets you see what other mediums (organic, ads, social networks, referrals) your visitors used to reach your website before converting.
This way you are able to see hidden channels that have contributed to your conversions and get additional insights about which channel is worth leveraging more.
To check the Multi-channel Funnels feature, just hover your mouse over [My Conversions] and select [Multi-channel Funnels]. All you have to do is just have goals created or e-commerce tracking enabled. In case you are not sure how to create goals, I am covering this in one of the Google Analytics course lessons.
Starting with September 1st data is available in the Multi-channel Funnels since January 2011.
To see exactly what I am talking about and why this is so important when measuring conversions please also check this video:
2. Multiple and Customizable Dashboards
If previously you had access to only one default dashboard, now you have the freedom to create up to 20 dashboards per profile, the way you like them.
The newly designed user interface contains slick widgets which can be dragged and dropped in order for you to easier build your own dashboards. The new Google Analytics allows you to choose from 4 types of widgets: Metric, Pie Chart, Timeline, and Table. Using them, you can easily create your customized dashboards to get more insights from your Analytics data.
To create your first dashboard, just select [Dashboards] from the top menu and [+ New Dashboard]. First you will have to choose a name for your dashboard and then add widgets to it. Each widget can give you different insights from your data, so be sure you check all of them:
- Metric. This widget displays the value of a metric and a sparkline for your selected time period (e.g. Visitors)
- Pie Chart. The Pie Chart breaks down a metric by certain dimension (e.g. displays visitors by source)
- Timeline. The Timeline displays a chart of your selected metric for a selected period of time. Additionally, that metric can be compared with a second one (e.g. Visitors compared with the Conversion Rate)
- Table. This widget displays tabular data for one dimension. You can choose to display up to 10 rows and 2 metrics
To start off, check my dashboard above and try to duplicate it. Next, create your own dashboard with the metrics that matter to you.
I will share more customized dashboards in one of the Google Analytics lessons, so make sure you are subscribed.
3. Events Goals
Events allow you to measure who pauses or fast forward on a video, who clicks an ad, who downloads an eBook or how many errors a visitor encounters during the checkout.
I personally use events to measure who clicks on my sidebar ads and who closes or subscribes to my Google Analytics course using the pop-up form.
To do that, you have to add onclick=”_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘category’, ‘action’, ‘opt_label’, ‘opt_value’]);” next to your URL, just like in the example below:
< a href=”http://eugenoprea.com/genesis/” onclick=”_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘Ads’, ‘Sidebar’, ‘Genesis’]);” >
But what is more insightful about Events in the new Google Analytics version is the fact that you can add an event as a goal.
To setup goals for your events, you need to add a new goal, enter it’s name and choose [Event] as a Goal Type. Then, you need to fill in it’s Category, Action, Label, and Value. For our example the Category is “Ads”, Action “Sidebar” and Label “Genesis”. I haven’t added a Value, because I use Goal Value to track it’s performance.
Here is how the above example looks into my Google Analytics account:
4. Plot Rows
At this moment the top charts from the Google Analytics reports display information over selected periods of time and they do their job very well.
But with Plot Rows, you are able to select individual rows and create instant segments with those rows. This segments can show you how those rows compare with the totals of that report and with each other. Just like in the screen shot below:
All you have to do to use Plot Rows, is just select 2 rows from any tabular report and select [Plot Rows] from the bottom of the report. In case you want to use Plot Rows into a report that has, say for example a pie chart, just switch to the [Data] view and use it.
To make the most out of it, try not to apply Plot Rows to compare metrics which have a big difference between them. For example, comparing a keyword with 1,000 visits out of 2,450 with one that has 90 visits is less insightful than comparing the same keyword with one that has 954 visits.
Video fan? Here is a a quick recording which shows you how Plot Rows works:
5. Site Speed Report
Search engines care about how fast your website is loading and they will let your site speed influence your rankings. For Google it’s official, a slow landing page will influence your AdWords Quality Score or your organic rankings.
However, they also influence your visitors retention and conversion rate, as no one will stay 30 seconds to wait for your site to load.
Those are just a few reasons why you should care about your site speed and why Google Analytics includes the Site Speed report into its newest version.
The page speed measurement will be automatically turned on and the Site Speed Report will start displaying information about the load time of your pages.
With the Site Speed Report you can see not only how fast your web pages load, but you can also check other dimensions. For example you can see what is the load speed of your pages by traffic source or check information about your visitors.
The Site Speed report can help you answer these questions:
- What pages of my site are slow?
- Which of my visitors browsers load my site slower?
- What regions experience a slower load speed?
- …and much more
6. Enhanced Analytics Intelligence
Intelligence gets better and better. You have now available in Google Analytics a new section called [Intelligence Events] with 4 new reports:
2. Daily Events
3. Weekly Events
4. Monthly Events
The Overview report displays an overview of your automatic alerts and custom alerts that you have created over time. Additionally, it lets you drill down and find new information about each alert.
Here, you can discover new insights about your alert, create annotations or display the full report.
To access the Intelligence Events Overview, hoover your mouse over [Reports] in the menu and click [Intelligence].
The Daily, Weekly and Monthly Events reports display information about your alerts grouped by day, week or month.
7. Improved Map Overlay
The new Google Analytics version has improved the Map Overlay reporting so your can see the traffic broken down into regions for over 170 countries. Before, you were able to do that only for the United States.
To access the Map Overlay report go to [Visitors] > [Demographics] > [Location] and check visitors information for your desired region.
8. Improved Custom Reports
In the new version of Google Analytics there is a whole new section for Custom Reports, which can be accessed from the main menu.
Custom Reports is one of the major changes that Google Analytics suffered in this version and you can create custom reports more easier now. Plus, they provide more insights.
One sweet enhancement is filter option, which lets you add a filter to your custom report. How this helps you? If you use filters a lot in the interactive report, you will really like this because you can save a custom report (similar with one you check frequently) and apply the filter straight to the custom report. It’s a huge time saver.
Another enhancement is the fact that you can add different dimension for different tabs, unlike the old version where you couldn’t add different dimensions, but only additional tabs. Plus, you can add metric groups, which helps you display plenty of metrics, but in and organized structure.
To start with custom reports, create a copy of the one you can see above and once you get familiar with the options, create your own customized report.
9. Improved Mobile Reporting
As you already know, mobile is the future and it’s very important to leverage this. Fortunately, Google Analytics comes in handy because it allows you to see which of your visitors are using mobile devices and not desktop PCs or laptops.
You have 2 reports to choose from in the [Visitors] > [Mobile] section: Overview and Devices. The Overview report displays how many visitors have used mobile devices and how many non-mobile devices.
On the other hand, the Devices report displays the type of mobile devices that your visitors have used and you can even see a picture of them.
The Devices report has also multiple dimensions, which will let you see additional information about your mobile visitors, such as:
- Mobile Device Branding
- Service Provider
- Mobile Input Selector
- Operating System
To start with, this report can help you see whether you need a mobile version of your site or not. If you have a high Bounce Rate this means that your visitors cannot properly see the information they are looking for and they leave, so you definitely need to make a mobile version of your website.
10. Fast Profile Switching
In the new Google Analytics switching through different profiles has become a lot easier. Now, you can switch to a different profile on the exact report with the exact date range.
Moreover, if you have a large number of profiles you can search them in the search bar from the top right section. You can switch to a different profile by finding it into that list or simple strat typing its name.
11. Bookmark Anything
Another sweet enhancement of the new Google Analytics v5 is that you can bookmark anything. Any page you visit in Google Analytics can be bookmarked and saved for later.
Just test it! Copy the URL from one of your reports and open it into another browser, paste the URL, login to your Google Analytics account and you will see this enhancement in action.
12. Simple Goal Creation
The goal creation has also been simplified in the new version of Google Analytics by adding the auto-complete feature for the URL Destination goal type. If before you might have chosen a different URL by mistake your conversion data ended up to be inaccurate.
But now, the auto-complete feature will not allow you to make any mistakes.
13. Advanced Filtering Makeover
Advanced Filters lets you filter reports data and display it the way you want it. With the new version the Google Analytics team has improved the process and made it more easier for any user to create advanced filters on the fly.
However, do not try to overuse this feature, because sometimes a Custom Report will do this job a lot better that an Advanced Filter.
14. Term Cloud (Keyword Cloud)
One exciting SEO related feature is the Term Cloud or Keyword Cloud, which lets you display a cloud of terms used by visitors to reach your website from search engines based on Visits, Pages/Visit, Avg. Time on Site, % of New Visits or Bounce Rate.
Using this feature you can visualize which of your keywords are most used, thus rank better in search engines and have a higher search volume. Or you can see which of them have a high Bounce Rate, which means that the landing page does not provide the information visitors are looking for.
To check this feature, go to the [Traffic Sources] report > [Sources] > [Search] > [Organic] and select the [Term Cloud] view from the section just below the chart.
The new Google Analytics provides some powerful features that will help you get more insights out of your data.
I hope that with this article I helped you better understand the new version of Google Analytics so you can get more insights out of your visitor information. Let me know if I succeeded.
If you have any questions, just use the comments form below to ask them. In case you want to share a Google Analytics story, feel free to use the same form to do it.